Title IX’s Ticket to Training Camp

The big business of college sports in the U.S. is for the better or worse, and has many causes and consequences. One reason that the two highly commercial features of most programs–football and men’s basketball–are such big tickets is that they not only carry their own ever-heavier weight but also that of most of the other team competitions, including those for women. For half a century, federal “Title IX” strictures have been requiring schools to aim for equitable treatment of the two sexes in athletic as well as other activities. As the weekend’s New York Times article shows, this has had an unexplored and rather awkward result: The American campuses have become a training ground for the world’s female athletes, many of whom go on to compete in the Olympics for their home nations. In most of those countries, there is no comparable level of facilities and training available to women, particularly, and not with college attached. They don’t have Title IX, and they don’t have big-money spectator sports like football and March Madness to provide for such support. Now, what you make of this depends on whether a) you’re bothered by college sports being more about “Inc.” than “B.A.”; b) you think bringing in star athletes benefits everyone involved with the school; and c) you don’t care where the recruits come from or whether they go back there. (It’s a financial double-whammy: foreign students on scholarships are getting a free ride on what would typically be an institution’s highest tuition charges.) Maybe, on some level, this still amounts to a premium American “export.” It is probably not what the authors of Title IX envisioned.

Published by timwferguson

Longtime writer-editor, focusing on topics of business and policy, global and local.

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